First cherry trees planted at Dane Park following successful community fundraiser

Stephanie Nsom with Cllr Gary Taylor by one of the newly planted cherry trees in 2018

A crowdfunder campaign to buy cherry trees for around the Dane Park fountain in Margate has hit target and the first five trees have been planted today (October 16).

Resident Stephanie Nsom campaigned to raise £1,250 to buy five trees as a step towards reviving the fountain area but the success of the campaign, and some help from Thanet council, means there are now funds for 15 trees.

The mum-of-two, who works for World Bank on renewable energy projects in Africa and Haiti, said a partnership with the Dane Valley Woods group and community backing brought the project to fruition.

The 37-year-old has teamed up with the Dane Valley Woods group which is helping via the loan tools and other equipment as well as assisting with the process of accessing external grant funding and working to raise overall awareness of the project.

Thanet District Council approved the tree planting and there are further plans for TDC to provide benches to place near the fountain.

Stephanie said: “It was a very exciting journey for me and my family in partnership with Dane Valley Woods, We raised £1,250 from 50 supporters in 50 days, which iswesome! It was a real community effort.

“We have incorporated a few innovative fundraising features. Cliffs set up a tea support scheme in September where 50p from each pot and cup of tea went to the campaign. There were 378 sold, and the Grain Grocer donated an illustration of blossoming cherry trees around Dane Park fountain that we auctioned on ebay.

“Dane Valley Woods will allocate all proceeds from the Thanet community lotto in October to the campaign. Local businesses who supported us were Cliffs, del renzio&del renzio, Curve Roasters and the Bus Café.

“We also received positive confirmation for our application from Kent County Council via Cllr Barry Lewis.

“As the fundraising campaign was so successful and Thanet council secured trade prices for us, we can plant another 10 cherry trees this planting season – which is tripling the original target of 5 to 15 trees in total.

“We might also be able to do the woodcarvings. We will be tree planting with Dane Valley Woods and Thanet community forest school in November and hope to mobilise children to educate them about the role of trees.”

Stephanie said the project had also been supported by numerous community groups, including Margate Civic Society, Friends of Ellington Park, Thanet Trees and isle facebook groups.

The first saplings were delivered to Thanet council last week and planted with the help of staff from the council’s open spaces team. Dane Valley ward councillor Gary Taylor also stopped by to see the progress.